Teacher Guide To Cinco De Mayo
Cinco de Mayo means the fifth of May in Spanish. This is a Mexican holiday that is celebrated all around the world. On May 5, 1862 at the Battle of Puebla, the Mexican army, who was lead by General Ignacio Zaragoza Sequin, defeated the French army. Cinco de Mayo, however, is not the independence day of Mexico; that date is September 16.
The Battle of Puebla on Cinco de Mayo was a big deal to many people because the French army had twice as many soldiers as the Mexican army-eight thousand French soldiers against four thousand Mexican soldiers. The French army had not lost a battle in fifty years, and they had the strongest army in the world during that time, with better weapons and equipment than any other country. So when the Mexican army won the Battle of Puebla on Cinco de Mayo and beat the French, every other country in the world gained respect for them. The Mexican people were very happy and proud of their victory, as were many other countries. In fact, since that battle in 1862, the French have not conquered or beat any country in a battle in all of the Americas.
Cinco de Mayo was chosen by the United States Congress in 2005 as one of the U.S. National holidays in order to celebrate Mexican-American heritage. However, the only region that really celebrates Cinco de Mayo in Mexico is the state of Puebla where the battle took place. Those people who celebrate Cinco de Mayo eat lots of Mexican food, enjoy Mexican drinks and dance in traditional Mexican dances in both in Puebla and in many other countries around the world.
Cinco de Mayo is celebrated by eating Mexican foods, such as tacos, quesadillas and guacamole, and drinking Mexican beers, tequilas that are only made in Mexico, and fruit juices using Mexican fruits such as tuna fruit or guava. Dancing that is popular for Cinco de Mayo parties includes baile folklorico, meaning folk-style ballet, and involves traditional brightly colored red, green and white costumes with men wearing hats and women wearing dresses that they use to spin in circles to make beautiful movements. This type of dance can be found all over Mexico, and is part of their culture. Mariachis are also very popular during the Cinco de Mayo celebrations, with groups of men playing instruments and singing traditional Mexican songs.
In other places around the world, Cinco de Mayo celebrations have all kinds of customs and traditions. In Vancouver, Canada, every year on Cinco de Mayo the people have a sky diving event to celebrate. On the island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea, it is a custom to drink Mexican beer for this holiday. The Cayman Islands in the Caribbean celebrates Cinco de Mayo by having an air guitar competition.
The great victory for the Mexican people over the powerful French military
became a symbol to represent hope for many people. It does not matter how
big or powerful one country, or person is, if the weaker one has courage
and passion they can succeed just as well.